Crackdown announced on illegal rest area campers

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Rest areas for truckies and grey nomads
Grey nomads and truckies need to co-exist with each other. PIC: Co-Exist

Queensland is to clamp down on travellers who camp illegally in the state’s rest areas, in a move that has been welcomed by truckies.

The state’s Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR) has brought in regulations that will see move-on directives and fines of up to $2669 enforced.

It is hoped the regulations will help heavy vehicle drivers better meet their legislated rest obligations.

Queensland Country Life reports that, of the 450 rest areas on state roads, 115 of them are designated for the use of heavy vehicles only while another 50 are combined motorist and heavy vehicle rest areas, where trucks, motorists and caravans can all stop and take a break in designated areas.

The remainder are motorist rest areas, where only cars and caravans can stop.

A TMR spokesman said the changes clarified the rules for rest area use and camping and provided stronger and simpler enforcement powers for TMR, such as the ability to issue move-on directions or fines in cases of illegal camping and congestion.

“Rest areas are provided for the convenience of all motorists to manage fatigue and they need to be used fairly for everyone’s safety and amenity,” the spokesperson said. “They are not a source of accommodation … congestion and illegal camping at rest areas have been ongoing issues.”

The Queensland government’s approach to enforcement involves education, awareness and formal warnings, with fines issued by the Queensland Police Service and authorised TMR officers as a last resort.

The minimum fine is $266 for an on-the-spot fine, while the maximum fine is $2669.

The Transport Department website says that general and recreational vehicles can stop at a rest area for up to 20 hours unless signed otherwise, but they are not to set up camping sites at them. An education and awareness campaign is now under way.

“New signs are being rolled out in hot spots – they indicate which rest areas are exclusively for heavy vehicles and the applicable hours of operation for motorists,” the TMR spokesman said.

Livestock and Rural Transporters Association of Queensland president Gerard Johnson said his members often found themselves unable to find enough space to stop in rest areas when their regulated seven-hour rest period was due.

“If you run out of hours and get to a rest area and it’s full, you have to go on,” he told Queensland Country Life. “And the further north you go, they get further apart.”

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31 Responses to Crackdown announced on illegal rest area campers

  1. What is Motorhome with Heavy Vehicle registration with length over 15+ metres, and combined weight over 12 tonnes meant to park, this story hasn’t addressed Motorhomes at all.

    • Anywhere but not in a truck stop you buy BIG so be it so find somewhere else to go

    • Ever heard of Caravan Parks, great alternative. There are plenty who can take 15+metres. If not, have you heard the rumour than you can utilise many Show Grounds in towns. Stop making excuses and leave the designated Heavy Vehicle Rest Areas for the intended vehicles.

    • A motor home is not a truck and the driver does not haver to comply with the rules and regulations pertaining to truck drivers. This is why dickhead recreational drivers do not understand the “trucks only’ parking areas

    • Definition of a truck:

      truck1 | trʌk |
      1 a large, heavy road vehicle used for carrying goods, materials, or troops; a lorry.
      • British a railway vehicle for carrying freight, especially a small open one.
      • a low flat-topped trolley used for moving heavy items.
      2 a railway bogie.
      • each of two axle units on a skateboard, to which the wheels are attached.
      3 a wooden disc at the top of a ship’s mast or flagstaff, with holes for halyards to slide through.

    • People like you may think it’s ok to park in truck stops, but it’s not very nice for a truck driver that can’t get into a rest area.

    • Anywhere you like BUT not in trucks areas they are working you are holidaying

  2. What we need are clearly marked stops, if its a REST AREA, then surely trucks, cars and motorbikes etc can REST there, ie stop over for up to 20 hrs……if its a TRUCK stop or HEAVY VEHCILE ONLY, then just make it clear what that means….clear signage is vitally important.

    • This would need to be done before you could be fined for being there.

    • What we need is people being considerate to others use common sense,as already said there a plenty of showgrounds about plan for those stops

  3. I think most of us can plan our rest stops quite adequately without encroaching on the truckies’ designated stops. They have a lot fewer suitable areas and plan their trip according to their time limits. We on the other hand are not on a schedule and don’t have a time limit, so be nice folks and use common sense.

  4. Why is it that humanity has to keep pushing to try making the point that they are just dumb, stupid or their ego thinks they are privileged.
    Goodness sake a Truck Rest Area is JUST that. So leave it be and be thankful truckies are getting the rest law is crucial. As without it ALL lives are at risk.
    I certainly want to be around alert heavy drivers.
    Think about your whinge as it show’s other people.. that your just simply inconsiderate. Be nice on the road and everyone will have a great day and journey safely.

  5. Who would try to sleep in a spot that might get a reefer as a neighbour?

    • What’s a reefer ?

      • Refrigerated Trailer

  6. Need more rest areas

    • We 100% need more rest areas for both trucks and rvs.
      Going up North from Brisbane to Cairns needs more rest areas put in. Yes by all means have the signs put up and let the fines apply but please put more rest areas in for everyone.

  7. Why is there only 115 truck stops in Qld, there should be 2115 at least. The size of Qld and the distance travelled by trucks, caravans etc, there are need for more stops

  8. Terry Hall asks a great question, which certainly needs to be clarified from a legal standpoint. Some other responders have said his vehicle is not a truck. But legally it is according to GVM. He has to register it as a truck and needs a truck license to drive it and has to comply with the laws relating to truck and truck license, such as zero alcohol. It may well be that it’s illegal for him to park in the car only rest area.

  9. There are several issues here, with the definition of heavy vehicles and motorhomes. Motorhomes come under their own registration category in each state, and must comply with certain requirements to be registered as such, eg must have cooking facility, windows or air conditioner, sink, sleeping quarters, fire extinguisher, etc.

    Pat, GVM alone does not make Terry’s vehicle a truck. Terry needs to tell us what his registration papers classify the vehicle as. If a vehicle is registered as a motorhome, >4.5 tonne gvm, then under the National Heavy Vehicle Law (NHVL), it is classified as a non regulated heavy vehicle, and therefore the driver is not required to fill out a work diary, but is required to enter heavy vehicle checking stations if directed, and comply with various weight regulations etc. If is registered as a truck then the driver needs to fill out the work diary and comply with the NHVL regulations.
    In the above story from Qld Transport, a vehicle registered as a motorhome would fall into the category of a recreational vehicle.
    The regulations are a mine field, and I have barely touched on them here, eg NSW a couple of years ago cracked down on motorhome definition so if you had a small car inside the motorhome it then becomes a goods carrying vehicle, and subject to all of the heavy vehicle regs. OK if the car is towed behind the motorhome- go figure?

  10. Paul Motorhomes do not come under their own registration, you are quite with your assertion, I pay for commercial registration, I need a commercial licence and I can’t park in streets as I am classified as a truck, I pay commercial tolls, so therefore I am a truck and continue to park in truck designated areas, end of story. !!!!!

    • Hope you get a visit from a fully loaded cattle truck and see how you go

    • Terry, quite rightly so, if registered as a truck you are entitled to park in truck only bays.
      The links in my comments below show information on motorhome registration, which is generally cheaper than truck registration.

  11. Anyone heard of commònsense and courtesy? Holidaymakers are just that, truck drivers are trying to earn a living. I’ve been both. Let’s look out for each other … it’s a big country.

  12. My motorhome with tandem trailer attached, is 18.8metres and has a GCM of 19.65tonnes .It has a tag axle and I need a HR license to drive it .I have to have on over the pit inspection each year . I have abide by all regs except rest stops and log books , my length is the same as a semi .

  13. Trying to find an overnight park is getting more difficult when travelling fron A to B . I appreciate the truck issue for rest and parking and we do observe this. However a complication is the high number of caravan parks we attempt to stop at that will not take the doggie. The few caravan parks who are dog friendly have often been full and we end up driving long distances in a day to get to a planned stop. Coastal drives are particularly difficult due to Council restrictions and holiday times require no dogs and 7 day bookings and we are prohibited from town parking due to truck size requirements. With the boom in this type of travel, there is still lots more to consider.


    The above two links provide information as to the requirements for a vehicle to be registered as a a motorhome, in Qld, and some NHVL regs on same.

    Terry, perhaps your motorhome doesn’t fit this criteria to enable motorhome registration, or perhaps you live in WA or NT, who dont run under the NHVL. If it is registered as a truck then that would entitle it to park in truck only bays.
    My “assertion”. Is based on having driven more than 3 million kilometres in heavy vehicles, and over 100,000 klm in a truck mounted motorhome which had its Motorhome registration cancelled and had to be registered as a truck because it had provision to car a car inside it.

  15. And for those totally bored, here is some light reading on registering a motorhome:

    Have a lovely day, park considerately of others and I am off to get the popcorn!

  16. Personally I cant understand why anyone would try sleeping at a truck stop anyway. They are noisy but sometimes when fatigue sets in it’s best to pull up and sleep. More RV stops would be a good idea to save road fatalities…

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